RSPCA executes warrant on cockfighting ring

Published on 28 June 2024

Today RSPCA Victoria’s Major Investigations Team has executed a warrant at a Diggers Rest property related to alleged cockfighting, with the large-scale law enforcement operation finding 48 birds.

The birds were aggressive and allegedly mutilated for the purposes of cockfighting with their combs, waddles and spurs all removed, in addition to a cockfighting pit and other cockfighting related implements being found at the property.

RSPCA Victoria took surrender of all 48 birds.

Major Investigations Team Leader Shannon Walsh said this wasn’t the first cockfighting investigation for the team.

“Over the last few years RSPCA Victoria’s Major Investigations Team has conducted a number of investigations regarding cockfighting and it’s disappointing to see this blood sport continuing,” Team Leader Walsh said.

“Birds used for cockfighting are specifically bred to be aggressive, they’re often pumped full of performance enhancing drugs, and mutilated with their combs, waddles and spurs crudely removed and they’re often housed in sub-standard conditions.”

Speaking about the operation, RSPCA Victoria’s Chief Inspector, Michael Stagg, said cockfighting was a barbaric practice.

“I want to be clear about this, cockfighting is a blood sport. It’s barbaric, it’s illegal for good reason, and RSPCA is absolutely determined to stamp it out, there is no place for cockfighting in this state,” Chief Inspector Stagg said.

“The community are our eyes and ears, and we would urge any members of the community, if they have concerns about cockfighting or any animal cruelty issue, to please report it to the RSPCA where it will be investigated, and offenders will be held to account.”

This investigation remains ongoing.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, it’s an offence to wound, mutilate, torture, abuse, beat, worry, torment or terrify an animal. It’s also an offence for a person to keep, use or assist in the management of premises for the purpose of causing an animal to fight or for the baiting or maltreating of an animal. Offences under the act carry a penalty of up to 500 penalty units equating to $96,155 or imprisonment for 2 years.

This investigation was the result of an anonymous community tip off, and anyone with concerns for the welfare of an animal or aware of illegal animal fighting is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria on 03 9224 2222 or submit a report at rspcavic.org/cruelty-report/ immediately.

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